To High Command, Re: USA 2020

Greetings High Command. <Seasonal phrase and in-group marker>. The Second Medium asked for a report at an inflection point in this country, and though there were earlier candidates during my observation period, this confluence of events is similar to other inflection points throughout this planet’s political history. Pursuant to <established protocol>, this report will be written in the language of the people here. They’ve recently acquired the ability to communicate with each other instantaneously, so slang is changing as quickly as they speak. I’ve also included updates on the species per the Culturer’s request. Refer to attached contemporal subdata for emotional state and thought processes to understand it; the Archivists should have lots of fun with this one. And tell them that humans enjoy such things without the subdata!

As a species, they’re in flux. On the one hand, humans have questioned their existence and the world around them and have created the tools required to address these questions. But they are also a biological species, and thus suffer from what we ourselves have gone through — their technology is improving, but their instincts and urges are not controlled well enough to use it without hurting themselves. That, and they die. Such short lives too.

As for this piece of land you have me posted on, it’s still under the name “USA” which stands for “The United States of America.” Quite unwieldy, so they shortened it to America, regardless that the term is also used for adjacent land masses. According to the public government instruction here, it was founded some three or four hundred years by a group of people that wanted to practice their religion freely — that religion being more conservative than the standard. That set the tone for the country, in addition to the use of slaves. The slaves for this society were based off the physical marker of skin color, the effects of which are felt in the present day.

I learned from the Awakening notes that the Second Medium put in the observation request for this country because he wanted to see how this group, a democracy, would grow with imbalanced power as a founding tenet. The humans have made progress, codifying equality into law, though the reach of that law varies from place to place. They’ve also made advancements in science and the arts; there was a great flourishing, culminating in their creation of the Internet which allowed individuals to communicate and share information instantaneously.

But they still suffer from their laws and ideas of justice, as such things are human creations and have human flaws. The first is their short lifespans. This is a young upstart of a country, created less than 500 years ago, but no one remains that can recall its founding. And these laws are written with one meaning (refer to geotemporally synced subdata for intention context) but often become perverted to reflect the desires of the ones in power. The Impartial Truths have not yet been bestowed upon them.

Perhaps it’s their short lives that makes them fear so much. The shadow of death is always hovering above them, whether it be bullets, disease, resource scarcity, or age, and so they feel fear, which is exacerbated by their constant exposure to biased news cycles. This fear coupled with their basic biological mechanisms has led to a tense state of things.

While speciesism and racism should not exist in a civilized society, the human brain, from what I’ve gathered, is built to trust similar things and to be fearful of the unknown. Some of the humans have overridden this instinct with knowledge, but most here have not. Coupled with the pride of being a world power and the surety they have born from faith in their respective religions (see neurotheology), much of this country’s populace is misinformed and positive that their misinformation is correct. Some people have put their faith in science and harnessed it, while the rest believe in the unseen and unknowable. These laws of religion, all creations of men, are just as easily warped to say one thing or the complete opposite. A versatile tool for whatever stance one wants to take, and it has been used as such to justify their baser motivations.

Humans fear things that are different. And as such visual creatures, they use skin color to quickly judge how different they are. Some have learned to internally tinker with this behavior and address it, while others are defined by it and are slaves to its simplicity. Many problems here are based on race, while in other cultures we’ve also seen language, ultraviolet emissions, gender, sexuality, place of birth, and chirality as a designation for a group to conquer. These differences are arbitrary.

Things haven’t changed much from the previous observation periods. The ruling race here is still white. The ruling gender is still male. The blacks that were originally slaves have been granted nominal freedom through the law, but this same law is freely wielded to enforce a whim or to escape a crime. And though some of the Young Ones believe that the law dictates reality, the Old Ones know that the law doesn’t apply to them, and if it does, they’ll just rewrite it. The Old Ones understand the concept of narrative and create many (often contradictory) stories to satisfy their needs. And since there are some 7 billion individuals on this planet, there will be examples of whatever one wants to promote. In the eternal battle between the individual and the group, humans are beginning to understand statistical evidence but are hampered by their narrow experiences and short lives. And in the end, it is not large numbers but the stories of individuals that motivate them most.

Just a few days ago, the verdict for Breonna Taylor, the black woman who was shot in her sleep in Kentucky, was announced. In an interesting preemptive move, the ruling class recalled all of its guard caste to protect the city and boarded up many of the windows and storefronts ahead of the announcement. The verdict for the three guards who shot into her home was, of course, not guilty. The law deemed these three white male cops as fine. The People do not agree and there are protests in the streets. I heard even the High Adjudicant was curious about the role of protest in this country, and I’d like to tell her its efficacy seems to have diminished. The people speak, but the ruling class is sure of their grip on power and do not to listen.

Speaking of law, Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away recently. She spent her life within that law, promoting equality for individuals and equality of the sexes. Truly a beloved hero and definitely an Essence worthy of study. Yet she used her final power outside of law, hearkening back to older cultures, which was her deathwish. She has mobilized a part of this country, and her words, I shit you not, were:

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

The grace! Especially with how it mingles with law and precedent: in 2016 the Republicans (the current name for this iteration of a Conservative party) blocked a judge from being nominated by Obama, a Democratic president. Now, the tables are precisely turned (aligned to such a degree that I suggest High Command investigate if there are other entities also observing Earth and may be actively influencing it), and a new Republican narrative I’ve seen is: “Whoops actually what we did last time was bad so let’s fix it by going by the rules now.” I suppose we’ve seen worse excuses from different civilizations in the past, my favorite being, “Whoever is in power deserves to be in power,” but this one is also low.

We shall see what becomes of RBG’s deathwish. She was a powerful force in life and may be an even greater force in death. The current administration is seeking to replace her immediately, but the power of a deathwish is not to be underestimated. It is immutable and the living are bound to it. The people are galvanized.

The USA is known for its protests, for its emphasis on the representation of the people (though the definition of people keeps changing). But the USA is also known for its military, its warmongering warrior caste, and we shall see if it’s turned upon its own citizens. We know of what happened to the Thalassans, but such an outcome may be different here because humans dwell on land. The People have an innate sense of justice based in fairness, and especially with RBG’s deathwish, we could see the dissolution of this country. It’s already separated into states; all or their maps give convenient places to cut the different chunks of land apart. This country comes pre-sliced.

One group, the Democrats, is still playing by the rules, following these silly laws they imposed on themselves before with such pomp and fanfare, like having elections for different positions every 4 years. The other group, the Republicans, have decided to ignore it, to create their own narrative, and to keep the power for themselves. My predecessors saw this happen both a century and a millennium ago in Europe (see, it’s that pesky short lifespan!) and here it is again.

Some people still believe in portends (an indication of their inclination toward superstition), and say that this span of time, the year 2020, is in general a bad year. As for their belief in milestones, this country also just reached 200,000 plague deaths. Why this is more alarming than 199,000 or 201,000 deaths shows a tendency to gravitate towards round, easy-to-remember numbers.

To answer the Second Medium’s question, democracy is only as good as its constituents. I suggest he stay the course and only apply it when he’s sure the people are responsible enough to govern themselves. <Seasonal phrase and statement>. Because of their short lives, the Young Ones have not yet realized that all the Old Ones will die. And one day there will be no more Old Ones, and they will be the Old Ones, and they can look upon the world they leave the Young Ones.

Personal Notes: Give my regards to the Assessors. Asian was a good choice for racial views from the sidelines here. The isolation of my youth was a nice touch for honing impartiality, but was the barn necessary? Finally, I appreciate some parts of this brain but damn someone crossed some wires in there. I’ve made adjustments and MacGyver’d what I can, but this baby needs an overhaul. Clean it out before you give it to the next Observer, please.



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Jon Lang

Jon Lang

A steak pun is a rare medium well-done